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Hamas rejects Egyptian ceasefire proposal

As part of Egypt’s efforts to halt the fighting between Hamas and Israel, Cairo proposed to the Palestinian organization’s leadership and to the Israeli government to mutually stop the fire for 40 hours, after which a broader ceasefire agreement would be discussed — but Hamas rejected the offer, The Times of Israel learns from Israeli and Hamas sources.

The offer was presented to the deputy head of the Hamas political bureau Moussa Abu Marzouk by Egyptian intelligence officers a few days ago. Abu Marzouk rejected it after a brief consultation with the terror group’s military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam brigades, sources say.

The Egyptians say they have no intention of publicly blaming Hamas for Cairo’s failure in its efforts to reach a ceasefire, but stressed that the organization will bear the responsibility for its refusal. These sources claim there is presently no outline for a truce that was presented to both sides, but there are various ideas that different officials – European, Egyptian, and others – are discussing with the goal of securing a ceasefire deal.

Senior Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk (photo credit: AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
Senior Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk (photo credit: AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

Yesterday, one of the Hamas spokesmen, Sami Abu Zuhri said: “They didn’t present any plan or outline for a ceasefire. “ According to Abu Zuhri, a temporary truce cannot be discussed so long as the “aggression continues.”

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi met with Tony Blair, a representative of the Middle East Quartet who also serves as the Egyptian leader’s economic adviser yesterday. The Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman, Badr Abed al-Ati, says Blair’s visit aims to restore the 2012 ceasefire agreement which followed the Operation Pillar of Defense.

This is seemingly Egypt’s intention — to lead the Arab world in calling for Hamas and Israel to return to its 2012 agreement. Israel has said it is willing to accept the terms of that agreement, but Hamas refuses.

Egypt has made it clear to Hamas it is willing to open the Rafah crossing under close monitoring conditions, including the presence of PA forces, not only at the border crossing, but also alongside the Gaza-Sinai border to prevent smuggling attempts.

Avi Issacharoff

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